Monday, May 5, 2014

Book Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black

While the vampire lore in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was unique, I had difficulty believing the motivations of the characters.

Tana wakes up in the bathtub after a wild party and soon realizes that everyone else is dead -- attacked by vampires. You see, the world is full of vampires, and you must stay locked up after dark or you may become a victim. There are places where vampires are allowed called Coldtowns.

It's interesting how one becomes a vampire. You don't just get bit by one. That's only the first step. After that, you get very sick, and crazy, and if you can survive for 88 days without biting another human, you will be cured. If you succumb to the extreme cravings for human blood, then you become a vampire. And you continue to need blood (of course.) These are "real" vampires, in that they burn up if exposed to light. Cool.

Besides that, I really had some problems with The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Tana made some stupid decisions. Like keeping a very important item in her purse. Like it isn't likely that you might be separated from your purse? And at the end, what she lets her sister do. And other things that I can't mention because of spoilers.

Then, I didn't get the appeal of the coldtowns. Supposedly, they are desirable places for a lot of people. Thrill seekers, I guess. I didn't buy it. There were some really bloody, gory scenes that I think were supposed to be romantic and steamy. I thought it was weird. I didn't get the sensual feeling I think Black was going for. (Nothing explicit, though.)

The bottom line is I had difficulty understanding the characters' motivations. I didn't get the right feelings about the world, I guess. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is too long. It really drags, especially in the middle before they get to the coldtown.

I think it's probably just me. I can appreciate what Black is trying to do, and it's very creative and at times, creepy. I just couldn't buy-in to the world she created.

Published by Little, Brown BFYR, 2013
Copy obtained from the library
432 pages

Rating: 3/5

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  1. I'm glad you enjoyed some elements of this book! I'm a big fan of Holly Black and her books on Faeries etc. but when I read a book of short stories that she wrote I wasn't hugely impressed by her story set in this particular world. I'd still be intrigued to give the book a go though, great review!

    Katrina @ Chased By My Imagination

  2. I've mostly read good things about this one, so it was interesting to read your thoughts on the shortcomings! I haven't had a chance to read this yet, but it sounds like I should go into it with expectations tempered. I'm usually not happy when I don't understand character motivations in stories!

    1. I think how you relate to characters is probably a more personal thing. I'm coming from a different perspective than other readers. So, hopefully you will enjoy this one just fine.


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